Diana Nemorensis

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Diana Nemorensis (“Diana of Nemi”), often referred to as “Diana of the Wood,” was a goddess who had an Italic form before becoming Hellenized and confused with Artemis in the fourth century BC.

Her temple was located beneath the cliffs of the present-day city of Nemi on the northern coast of Lake Nemi (Aricinum).

One of the myths that served as the basis for the Hellenizing movement claims that Orestes, who killed Thoas, king of the Tauric Chersonesus, fled to Italy with his sister Iphigenia and brought with him the image of the Tauric Diana concealed in a pile of sticks, was responsible for establishing the worship of Diana at Nemi. The legend claims that after his passing, his remains were brought from Aricia to Rome and interred next to the Temple of Concord, in front of the Temple of Saturn, on the Capitoline hill. Classical readers will be aware with the gory ceremony that the Tauric Diana was reputed to perform; it was stated that every foreigner who came ashore was killed on her altar, but that when the practice was brought to Italy, it took on a more tolerable shape.

Featured image: Ruins of Temple of Diana in Nemi


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